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Is It Still an Epiphany if It Takes A While to Sink In?

August 31, 2010

So, here I am sewing away on a Sunday afternoon when I hit a little roadblock where two seams do not meet exactly the way they should on a dress I’ve already constructed in muslin…one that fit amazingly well. The epiphany is building up now, but not quite in focus. I go back to the muslin and take measurements, check to be sure I’ve transferred all the adjustment notes correctly, and double check these against the garment. No joy.

Here it comes: I decide the best thing to do is cut apart the muslin garment at the seams to get a clear picture of how the pieces compare between this great fitting muslin and the misaligned final garment…As I lay the carefully trimmed piece onto the garment and see where the seams line up – finding the small error in construction – it hits me. The muslin is supposed to be used this way every time.

An epiphany is brewing.

All these years I thought I was subscribing to the process of creating a muslin by cutting out and constructing a muslin version of a garment as the first run. On this muslin I would make adjustments and mark all the darts and dots and notches. THEN I would measure and transfer all of this information back over to my tissue pattern to carefully cut out the fashion fabric.

Hey, what if I just cut out the muslin pieces on the corrected seam lines, cut the fashion fabric around them, marked the seam lines on the fabric – now including all adjustments? I am so excited about my arrival to a haute couture milestone after such meandering I can hardly keep from starting a dozen new projects! This changes everything about my outlook on making my own clothes.

Epiphany gains clarity: The muslin is the new pattern, not the first run.

As I mulled this over to the tune of my sewing machine whirring away, I thought about the implications – or advantages – of this new awareness. The concept of marking the seam lines, or sewing lines, alone is an advantage. By knowing where the sewing lines are, I can cut the seam allowances any size to accommodate fitting adjustments. Marking the sewing lines is more precise than cutting so the construction will be more precise. Of course, this is not a new concept. It just finally occurred to me how to do this, what an advantage it is, and how to best use a muslin.

Epiphany complete.

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